North West property firm is teaming up with Legal & General to create a portfolio of science and technology assets in UK regional cities with the aim of creating 20,000 jobs. Tony McDonough reports
Property giant Bruntwood and institutional investor Legal & General are joining forces to create a £1.8bn portfolio of science and technology hubs in UK regional cities, including Liverpool.
In a 50:50 joint venture, the two partners will initially invest £360m of capital, property and intellectual assets into a new company, Bruntwood SciTech, with a business plan supporting the creation of 20,000 high-value jobs over the next decade.
The plan will see Bruntwood SciTech’s assets grow from 1.3m sq ft on day one to more than 6.2m sq ft over the next 10 years, increasing the value of the portfolio to £1.8bn. It represents the largest investment made in science and technology property assets in Europe this year.
Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio is already home to more than 500 science and technology businesses ranging from digital start-ups to global life sciences companies.
It is centred around flagship assets and development projects in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and includes the internationally-recognised life science campus in Cheshire, Alderley Park.
Those behind the venture say Liverpool features strongly in its forward plans. Work on the city’s ambitious £2bn Knowledge Quarter (KQ Liverpool) project is already under way and would provide an ideal environment for the type of investment targeted by Bruntwood SciTech.
The former head of Bruntwood’s Liverpool operation, Colin Sinclair, is chief executive of KQ Liverpool and it is likely he would welcome any potential investment from the venture into the scheme. Family-owned Bruntwood is already one of Liverpool’s biggest owners of commercial property.
Liverpool is also home to the hugely successful Baltic Triangle, a cluster of digital and creative businesses just outside the KQ Liverpool zone that would also be open to new investment opportunities.
With Legal & General’s long-term financial support, Bruntwood SciTech will initially focus on developing out its existing portfolio of assets as well as expanding within the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions.
The business will be chaired by Bruntwood chief executive Chris Oglesby and led by current Bruntwood chief commercial officer Phil Kemp as chief executive. Mr Kemo has more than 25 years’ experience in the IT and telco industry with IBM and Nokia.
The board also features Legal & General Capital’s managing director of urban regeneration and clean energy, John Cummins, and its director of regeneration, Rachel Dickie.
Mr Oglesby said: “Our focus is on creating thriving cities – breathing life into places where knowledge-based businesses can start and scale, driving growth for the UK economy.
“Bruntwood SciTech is aimed squarely at the many opportunities offered by the science and technology sector and with the backing of Legal & General we can greatly accelerate the scale and pace of what we can achieve.
“We have ambitious growth plans and see this activity as enabling the creation of around 20,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.”
Graham Barnes and Colin Thomasson of CBRE advised Bruntwood, alongside a team from Addleshaw Goddard. Savills, EY and CMS represented Legal & General.